Typeface of the Month: Spades

By Order Type Foundry

Author: Josephine Schroeder

Spades is a contemporary Baroque typeface that blends historical influences of ornate 18th century typography with the modern device of an inktrap. Designed by Oakland-based type designer Sascha Hopson, the family was released through Order Type Foundry in July 2023.

The family explores the juxtaposition of two distinct historical periods: the Black Arts Movement and the Baroque Era. While seemingly contradictory, Spades finds an overlap and forges its voice as a typeface through the extravagance, expression, and attitude of the respective eras.

The origins of Spades began with Hopson reflecting on the work of and paying homage to revered artist David Hammons. A key piece of inspiration early on in the project was Hammons’ collection of body prints starting from the 1960s. The use of spades or shovels were frequent motifs throughout his early work, centered around confronting and reclaiming the deprecating racial slur “spade.” Beyond his direct confrontation of this language, Hammons used perversion in his art to ask provocative questions such as, what is Black art, what does it mean to make Black art, and can it be free to be anything?

The Spades family originated from sketch explorations. Foundationally, the base of Spades is an old-style design. When Hopson dove deeper into stylings of the 18th century, he discovered the scalloped-serif construction of Fleischmann’s work. Through early exploratory sketches, he attempted to combine the modern visual device of an inktrap with these historical foundations. This exercise in merging two opposing styles leaned into the thinking of uncovering expression and subversion in Black art. The amalgamation created tension that—through later refinement—found a visual relationship.

Spades is a meditation on subversion through these juxtapositions, and an homage to the expansiveness of blackness in the medium of a typeface.


Foundry: Order Type Foundry
Designer: Sascha Hopson
Mastered: Tiny Type Co.
Release: July 2023

Formats: Desktop, Web, App
File Formats: OTF, TTF, WOFF, WOFF2

Weights: Thin, Light, Regular, Bold, Black
Price: Single Weights 50.– $, Two Weights $75, Family Package 120.– $

Available for testing and purchase here.